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The First Billion

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  1,551 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
Christopher Reich electrified readers with Numbered Account and The Runner, his first two international thrillers. Now the New York Times bestselling author whose work has been called “gripping” (Chicago Tribune), “chilling” (The Denver Post), “wonderful” (The New York Times Book Review), ratchets up the stakes in an ingeniously plotted story of nerve-jangling intrigue and ...more
Paperback, 608 pages
Published July 29th 2003 by Dell (first published 2002)
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The Short Life of Sparrows by Emm ColeThe First Billion by Christopher ReichPrince of Thieves by Chuck HoganThe Juror by George Dawes GreenThe Little Drummer Girl by John le Carré
Lesser Known Gems (<5000 ratings)
2nd out of 60 books — 11 voters
The Geneva Connection by Martin BodenhamWhere Angels Prey by Ramesh S. ArunachalamCaught in PRISM's Web by Derek A. LeistTrade Secrets by Holly RoznerThe Chairman by Stephen W. Frey
Best Financial Thrillers
13th out of 47 books — 64 voters

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Community Reviews

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Oct 03, 2011 Connie rated it really liked it
THE FIRST BILLION by Christopher Reich is 10 cassettes in the audio version. It was read by James Daniels and is approximately 15 hours long.


In exactly six days, Jett Gavallan will take Russia's top media company public on the New York Stock Exchange. A former fighter pilot and now the CEO of Black Jet Securities, Gavallan is no stranger to risk. But when rumors of fraud threaten to send the deal south - and with it everything Gavallan has worked so hard to build - he dispatches his
Apr 07, 2013 Chuck rated it really liked it
This is Mr. Reich's third novel and I gave his first two five stars. This one didn't match the tempo of his others but it was still a very interesting read. Our hero, John Gavallan, heads up a mid size, full service investment banking organization. They have made their mark in the industry handling IPOs, i.e. Initial Public Offerings. They have not scored a "big one" in some time and a cash flow injection is sorely needed. As the reader is introduced into John's life he and his associates are in ...more
Jarrod Jenkins
Jan 17, 2016 Jarrod Jenkins rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 05, 2009 William rated it really liked it
Interesting insight to the greedy IPO world and a nice mix with action and suspense; main character is a little too perfect and too rich....needed more flaws...puts entire fighter jet on AMEX....really!
Barbara Sparks
Typical mystery writing. Wall street, Russia. If you don’t have anything else to read, this will at least entertain you if you can make it through the financial stuff. Drags in the middle
Jul 02, 2011 Jeffrey rated it liked it
Was surprised I enjoyed this as much as I did (perhaps because I bought it for a quarter as an old used library book). This is a great thriller that was really hard to put down.
Sep 01, 2012 Millicent rated it liked it
the beginning needed some editing. but the story line was really good. the forensic accountants always get the bad guys. august, 2012
Feb 26, 2015 Tim rated it it was ok
Lots of bad Ruskies, murders, business machinations are not enough to make this novel spark interest throughout. 4 of 10 stars
Nov 14, 2009 Seth rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this one too! Quite a bit happening in it and it had some finance in it which always interests me.
Aug 04, 2008 Amy is currently reading it
I have read six other books and still trying to finish this one. That may be a sign...
Oct 30, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it
The First Billion, like Reich's other books that I've read (Numbered Account and Invasion of Privacy) is a big, meaty tome with lots of wonky Wall Street info, great characters and, of course, a good deal of action. What else could one ask for? A few reviewers have disparaged the book because the hero buys a one million dollar airplane with his American Express. I would say that is not at all untoward given that the transaction was approved by an Amex executive based on the cardholder having the ...more
Aug 21, 2008 Tony rated it liked it
Shelves: thrillers
Reich, Christopher. THE FIRST BILLION. (2002). ***. Reich has garnered a reputation of being the John Grisham of the financial world. His books are, technically, thrillers, but most of the thrills in this novel are forced. Having worked in M&A, there are big holes in Reich’s plot for this one that are immediately obvious. The plot outline given by the publishers follows. “In exactly six days, Jeff Gavallan will take Russia’s top media company public on the New York Stock Exchange. A former f ...more
Sep 29, 2008 Mike rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ralph Dunkin
Nov 23, 2015 Ralph Dunkin rated it really liked it
I thought I had read all of Christopher Reich's thrillers until I came across this one in our public library. This book came out in 2002 at the height of the IPO's related to the "new" internet. If you like a page turner with lots,of surprises, this book is for you. It deals with Wall Street, Russia, the mob and so much more. I like this type of read.
Oct 27, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Christopher Reich writes smart, entertaining and highly readable books. Yes, they're not high fiction, but they are fun and a great distraction. I've read about five of his books and none of them have failed to keep my interest and have enough twists to keep the plot unpredictable and interesting.
Aug 11, 2014 William rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, paperback
This book was, at times, highly entertaining. However, it also had long periods of blah, blah, blah. It wasn't until page two hundred that the real action and suspense was introduced, and even then the author skirts over what could have been some really intense scenes. While I certainly liked the main character and his love interest, I didn't always see some of the twists and turns their adventure would take, and liked how they figured things out in the end. The bad guy, Kirov wasn't the most di ...more
Sep 22, 2015 Kurt rated it did not like it
I never did finish this book. I just couldn't get into it. I did read the Devil's Bankder and I really enjoyed that book. It was fast paced and very interesting but this book never caught my fancy. I have too many books in my "to be read" pile to spend on reading a book I don't enjoy.
Jeff Holker
Couldn't put it down!

Well written, fast-paced, relevant (in 2015) storyline involving the murky underbelly on Russian thuggery, mafia and oligarchy. The characters were plausible and well developed through the book. I might argue this was Reich's finest work! Enjoy!
Alex Rogers
Aug 18, 2014 Alex Rogers rated it did not like it
Oh dear, I'm having a bad run - the fourth straight book I've abandoned, simply because the writing style was irritating. I'm definitely getting more critical - the less time I have to read, the less patience I have with mediocre writing. And this is on the low side of mediocre.
Apr 26, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Having read Christopher Reich's first 2 books and not thinking much of them, this was great - not nearly as much waffle in it as the first 2 books and it had loads of intrigue, action and a bit of silliness as well. Buying a fighter jet for $1 million on your AMEX card, yeah right! Still, it was a fun read.
Lenora Arthur
Jun 12, 2015 Lenora Arthur rated it really liked it
I thought it was an excellent book with a few surprising twists to the story. It kept me interested until the last page. Between the last chapter and the epilogue was a gap that could have been more connected. It is definitely worth reading.
Austin Edgson
Apr 03, 2016 Austin Edgson rated it liked it
An unknown author to me with good vocabulary and writing style. A bit too much diversification in the plot, could have fewer twists, whilst more depth in the characters. But good entertainment.
Melody Benz
May 23, 2014 Melody Benz rated it really liked it
I'm not that qualified to keep up on financial thrillers but he did a great job of keeping me educated. Amazing just how much can be charged to Amex!! Great thrilling story and non- stop.
May 04, 2014 Curt rated it really liked it
I've read the first three Christopher Reich books and I feel this one was by far the best. It kept the action moving much better than the first two, I can only hope that this is a good sign for his future efforts.
Deborah Gray
Jun 21, 2014 Deborah Gray rated it really liked it
A thrill ride through a murky Russian world of espionage and high stakes, which eventually take the reader all over the globe. I don't know anything about Russian political and criminal elements (which seem to be the same thing), nor much at all about IPOs and the moneyed stratosphere the main character, Jett Gavallan, inhabits. But I felt the verisimilitude of the research, and the layered street knowledge of geography. There was some suspension of disbelief in the multitude of plot twists, but ...more
Karen C
Sep 13, 2014 Karen C rated it it was ok
Read in 2012....don't remember much but I think it was a little complicated/financial kind of story so hard for me to follow.
Barbara B.
Jun 27, 2014 Barbara B. rated it liked it
I would have rated it higher, as it was a good story line, but I found myself getting bogged down with all the financial verbage.
Sep 08, 2014 Michelle rated it really liked it
I truly enjoyed this book. Maybe not as much as numbered account, but a very close second.
Rupesh Goenka
Aug 05, 2014 Rupesh Goenka rated it it was ok
Disappointing!! The story line drags unnecessarily.. plot with Russian background is stale...
Jun 08, 2016 Laszlo rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
As you expected, fine job again! Laszlo
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He was born in Tokyo and moved to Los Angeles in 1965. He attended Georgetown University and the University of Texas and worked in Switzerland before returning to the United States to become an author. He lives in San Diego and is the author of seven novels. He has a wife and 2 kids. His father is Willy Wolfgang Reich

"A relentlessly fast-paced espionage thriller, ripped from tomorrow's headlines b
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